INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUMCONFIDENTIAL: DO NOT DISCLOSETo: From: [Type your name here, then handwrite initial after your name]
I. IssueReligion is the fastest growing and one of the most confusing areas in employment law. Limitations on the right to wear religious emblems in the work place, has been an issue for a very long time. This is especially so for the Christian community. The Muslim community has been allowed to wear hijabs for a very long time and it is very acceptable for a very long time now. Whereas in the Christian community when people opt to wear a cross it is said that there is no symbol of Christianity.
II. Legal FrameworkIn 1989 the Fair Employment Code of Practice first recommended that employers, in order to advance equality of opportunity, should aim to:“promote a good and harmonious working environment and atmosphere in which no worker feels under threat or intimidated because of his or her religious belief or political opinion”.
III. Illustrative CasesAccording to an articles of faith; religious conflicts at works a lawyer writes that the British court is yet to hear a case of four employees who claim that their fundamental religious practices are been violated. This is a breach of Article 9 under the European convection to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Am going to be dealing with three illustrative cases that happened in the UK, and their hearing.
The first two cases the employees claim they were not allowed to wear crosses as per by company uniform act. The other was on gay issues whereas the clients religious beliefs did not allow him to work with this people his work policy forced him too. Both cases failed and the two clients joined up and petitioned and ever since then it has raised a lot of controversy. Both cases in details are as follows:
First case is Ms Nadia Eweida, is a British national who was born in 1951 and lives in Twickenham who refused to comply with British Airways uniform. She insisted she should wear a cross. She lost the case since it was found that the crucifix was a personal choice and not a fundamental or prerequisite of the Christian religion.
There was still another case of the crucifix in which a certain nurse claimed she had worn her cross for over a very long period of time and removing it would be contrary to her faith. She also lost this case due to the fact that she was working for a hospital and amongst the requirements of the health department was no dangling stuff.
The other was the gay issue which the complainant claimed is against his religious beliefs. This person was of an employee of the civil marriages office. He claimed that his religious beliefs did not support same sex marriages but then at the same time it is clear that there is no religious boundaries been crossed since it is his duty to marry the people who choose to get married even if they don’t share same interests. We have the work code of ethics.
Furthermore the prime minister questioned the religious suppressions that have been ongoing. David Cameron said that he supported freedom of religious practices in the work place and people have a right to wear their religious emblems in the work places. He claims that he will change the law and make it and make sure have freedom to wear religious emblems at work. My personal point of view is that politicians will always be politicians they will say anything and whenever.
This is not the first case of these issues. If they win people shall be allowed to wear religious emblems at work places if they lose the prime minister shall be held to his word and shall be expected to work on changing the laws on this issues. How would believers of these different beliefs and religions be able to manifest their beliefs in the workplace? And how would employers manage the issues that such displays would be likely to provoke?
The prime minister only talked about the issue and did nothing on the outcome. The issue of wearing religious emblems in the workplace is a very sensitive issue
IV. ConclusionReligion is a fundamental right and as history shows us an emotive one. How do draw the divide? How do we tell when and how the boundary should be? Does it mean that the employer cannot have uniform for its employees? Does it mean for a hotelier dangling earrings’ are not a health risk? We have to learn how to balance between our religious beliefs and work practices. Sometimes it is our duty and obligations and sometimes it is religious violation. Only we can draw a sober divide.
We can not have a standard on what is worn in workplaces and what cant not. The employer should have the sole discretion of what is to be worn at his workplace. Since some industries requires us to wear in a certain way or requires us to wear very tight outfits. We have hotel industry which has a special code of dressing, medicine and flight crew too, thus it would be unfair to dictate. At the front desk too this might turn away guests or clients as possible thus best thing here is to be neutral.
http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/Harmonyatwork.pdf: Promoting a Good & Harmonious Working Environment
Marion Bloodwort, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/articlesoffaith : Religious conflict at work: